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Binance Chief Releases Security Update After The Major $44 Million Hack

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Binance Chief Changpeng Zhao released a new security update after the major hack that led to the loss of 7,000 Bitcoin. As the developments roll out further, make sure you follow the latest cryptocurrency news.

Binance CEO issued an update following the damaging security breach of one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world where advanced tools and methods were used to steal up to 7,000 Bitcoins. The exchange lost nearly $45 million after which the company revamped its security measures. Zhao pointed out:

“Rest assured, our team is making progress. We are taking this opportunity to significantly revamp some of our security measures, procedures, and practices. With the goal of resuming deposits and withdrawals as soon as possible, some of the changes will be done within the window of this week, and many further changes will be made afterward.’’

In the near term, the Binance chief says that his exchange will cooperate with major crypto exchanges and blockchain-based companies in order to trace the movements of the stolen funds. This way he hopes that he will be able to find the funds and freeze them if they land on any crypto exchange.

Changpeng hired Elliptic as reported in the best cryptocurrency news sites, earlier this month in order to improve the compliance efforts and security measures and brought the total number of partner companies to three which is more than any other exchange has. Companies like Elliptic utilize public blockchain and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in order to trace suspicious transactions linked to criminal activities.

If hackers steal bitcoin and move them to another crypto exchange it would be possible for the companies mentioned above to trace those transactions. This is what the Binance Chief hopes for in order to freeze the funds and locate them before recovering. Zhao noted:

‘’We are working with a dozen or so industry-leading security teams to help improve our security as well as track down the hackers. Many security and blockchain analytics firms are actively helping us track the stolen funds. We are also working closely with many exchanges and other services to ensure stolen funds are frozen if received. It is already sort of an alliance, and we have some ideas to contribute more on this front after we get past this incident.’’

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NedBank Won’t Shut Down Crypto Exchanges Accounts

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Contradicting reports that a closing down is considered for the accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges in the country, the well-known South African bank, Nedbank is not up to this as we are reading more about it the latest cryptocurrency news today.According to the SACrypto, a South African cryptocurrency news media, the reports that Nedbank has plans to close down bank accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges are not true. Speaking about the issue, the CEO of AltcoinTrader, the well known South African cryptocurrency exchange platform said:
“I commented in the IT Web article about Nedbank closing crypto accounts. But I believe it has turned into media hype. The reality is: Nedbank is no longer taking on new accounts for crypto-related companies, but they are not closing current accounts.”
As it was reported in a previous occasion by DC Forecasts FNB closed down accounts that were linked to cryptocurrency exchanges in November of 2019. But stakeholders at a major South African cryptocurrency exchange claim that the friendly Nedbank that is among the big five in South Africa does not have plans about adopting policies of that kind.On Friday, January 24, 2020, the South African tech publication ITWeb had reported that Nedbank will probably follow the actions of FNB in closing the accounts of the cryptocurrency exchanges. According to ITWeb, officials from Nedbank told the tech publication that the bank was in the process of internal discussions on how to act towards their clients from the cryptocurrency sector. With the reports about the searching ways to withdraw support for cryptocurrency exchange platforms by the banks in South Africa, the people involved in the industry are asking the government for the faster enacting of clear cryptocurrency regulation in the nation.In December of 2019, there were reports that the South African government had the intention to enact new laws to regulate the cryptocurrency market. This new regulation will mainly focus on regulating the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal money transfers. The government in South Africa has remained limited to be tax compliant and to track crypto transactions and bitcoin is still popular in the country as the data from Google trends shows. Bitcoin’s popularity in South Africa made the country the perfect climate for elaborate scams as well.
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US Military Gets Under Threat From Crypto Ransomware Malware

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The US military I snow under threat according to cyber-security researchers who are warning that a powerful email ransomware malware is targeting their systems. The Emotet malware is used as an attack vector which allows Trickbots and ransomware attacks as we are reading further in the crypto news today.Last year in December we saw that the Emotet malware was the biggest threat and it seems that it remains that way since its main attack vector is through spam email campaigns that have malicious links or Microsoft Word document in it. By clicking the link or simply opening the document will download the malware to the computer and at this point, the malware will propagate itself by harvesting the email contacts and continuing the spam cycle. It can also analyze the regular contracts and respond to ongoing email threads which make it harder to recognize as a threat.Over the past few months, Emotet managed to successfully compromise a few targets in the US government and this led to an increase in infected emails that target the addresses with .gov and .mil which are the top-level domains in 2019. After the brief break for the Orthodox Christmas, the trend continued throughout the month. The malware can also mimic the email language and as an example, an email was sent targeting a staff member to the US Senator Cory Booker. This email contained signatures indicating that it originated from someone else that uses booker.senate.gov tag.The US Military got this kind of malware since Emotet is financially motivated according to the researcher Cisco Talos, ick Biasini. There are a lot of examples of Emotet being an initial infection vector that can be seen but then you can see a Trickbot is dropped and that’s followed by the ransomware. If you have seen there is a lot of this huge malware that can do a lot of harm and Emotet plays a huge role as well. The ransomware aims to access the encrypted systems’ data with operators demanding payment in crypto or bitcoin for the decryption key.The other malware in Check Point Research that was noted in the report for 2019 is the XMRig. This was an open-source software for hijacking the CPU resources for mining Monero and in many ways is really impressive that this malware rates highly.
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Hack Attacks On Crypto Exchanges Are Increasing: Report

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The hack attacks on crypto exchanges are now becoming a norm according to a recent report by Chainalysis but this also means that the platforms are now much better prepared which explains why the total value of the stolen funds dropped in 2019 so let’s read more about it in the latest crypto news.According to the reports, the 2020 crypto crime report shows that 2019 saw 11 hacking attacks on crypto exchanges compared to the 6 ones in 2018 which was a record at that time. However, the hackers doubled their previous records in regard to how many platforms they reached and the amount of stolen funds is three times lower than it was in 2018. The charts show contributions of each hack to the total amounts stolen in a year and there was no major hack comparable to the Mt.Gox in 2014 or Coincheck in 2018. The total amount that was stolen from exchanges dropped to $283 million worth of crypto in 2019 and this figure is only half of the amount of the stolen funds from the Japanese Exchange, Coincheck.Chainalysis went through all kinds of hacks including those implementing the exploitation of technical vulnerabilities as well as those that only rely on social engineering or other forms of manipulation. Another important thing to know is that the report covered attacks that were related to exchanges only meaning that it ignored payment processors, wallet providers, and investment platforms. The largest crypto hack last year was the one against Coinbene where the Singapore-based exchange lost about $105 million worth of ERC-20 tokens. Binance, Upbit, and BitPoint were next, having lost more than $49 million, $40 million and $32 million worth of crypto.The hack attacks on crypto exchanges started after cryptocurrencies started gaining attention and becoming popular especially with the enabled anonymous transactions. Chainalysis monitored the movement of the stolen funds and figured out how the cryptocurrencies get liquidated and in most cases, the coins reached other platforms and were then converted to cash. The percentage of illicit services used as a liquidation tool in 2019 dropped to the lowest level in the past few years which suggests that the effects of the increased regulation are real.
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UK Tax Agency Will Invest In A New Blockchain Analysis Software

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The UK Tax Agency, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has now opened a contract that will procure all crypto and blockchain analysis software which intends to get information about tax evaders as we are reading today in our blockchain latest news.According to the news outlets in the country, the UK Tax agency is now doubling down on crypto tax evaders starting from next month. The HMRC is looking for a provider of the crypto-asset and blockchain analysis software that can track Bitcoin and other crypto transactions. The agency recently opened a $130,000 licensing contract that can acquire an analysis software to monitor and to trace crypto transactions. According to a statement by the agency, the tax office recognizes the payment options made available for the crypto as well since it is used by crypto criminals for tax evasion and laundering money. A piece of the statements reads:
 “Crypto-assets, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, provide a means to transfer value between interacting parties. These services are increasingly used for a range of purposes, from international money transfers, sales of digital services, paying staff and tax evasion and money laundering.”
The HMRC specified that the suppliers offering software that is capable of tracking privacy-focused digital currencies such as Monero, Zcash, Dash will be preferred and interested suppliers can start sending in their applications by Monday. The tax office stated that the decision to go after the commercial products comes because of the inability of free online tools and resources to accurately track the crypto transactions and value fluctuations in crypto. The office remarked:
 “Many of these crypto-asset transactions are recorded publicly in a ledger known as a blockchain. Whilst the transactions are typically public, the participants undertaking them are not.”
The HMRC aims to equip its Fraud Investigation Service and Digital Support and Innovation departments with its new crypto tracking software to bridge the intelligence gap and to focus on crypto trading and how it supports the criminal activity. The agency believes its FIS-DSI teams will achieve better results with this tracking software and they will also be able to attribute transactions to crypto companies providing crypto mixing scams:
 “We are seeking the provision of a tool that will support intelligence-gathering methods to identify and cluster crypto-asset transactions into linked transactions and identify those linked to crypto-asset service providers.”
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